Back-to-School Safety

By September 29, 2014Personal Injury

A brand-new backpack stuffed with notebooks, pencils, and folders signals the inevitable end to summer for many parents and kids.

Drivers will encounter students heading to and from school on foot, on bikes, and by bus and they will need to adhere to certain safety standards to ensure that everyone arrives at their destinations unharmed.

Drivers and Walkers

Many students walk to school without an accompanying adult, and since children are unpredictable, drivers need to be aware of ways to avoid unsafe situations. Children will be directed by authority figures to use crosswalks at intersections. Vehicles should not block any portion of the crosswalk, which could cause students to veer toward moving traffic.Regardless of the presence of a marked crosswalk, drivers must allow pedestrians to cross when flashers are activated in a school zone and they are required to stop when directed by a sign or crossing guard.

Driving with Bicyclists

Drivers need to be cautious when navigating roadways shared by young bicyclists. Though people riding bikes are expected to follow the same rules as those behind the wheel, young riders tend to be particularly vulnerable to injury. They are often overlooked in traffic and they may lack the ability to properly gauge the safety of road conditions. Drivers can reduce the opportunity for danger by maintaining a distance of three feet from bicyclists when passing them, using proper turn signals, and allowing riders to cross the intersection before making turns that place the vehicle in the biker’s path. Children may not always practice proper signaling and they should be watched for sudden entry into traffic from driveways or behind parked vehicles.

School Bus Protocol

School buses provide the safest option for children to get to school, particularly when drivers follow the expected cautionary measures implemented to keep children from ending up in harm’s way. Drivers need to pay attention to signals indicating that the bus is about to stop for children and may not legally pass a bus actively loading or unloading students. In fact, all traffic on undivided roadways or vehicles approaching from behind a school bus must effectively stop during this process. The immediate perimeter around the school bus poses a substantial risk to children, and an appropriate clearance of ten feet should be given by surrounding vehicles.

Use Caution

Drivers can take a proactive role in reducing danger and promoting safe road conditions for children as they transition back to school. Despite being expected to behave responsibly as they walk, ride bikes, or take buses to school, children tend to be impulsive, distracted, and careless at unpredictable moments. That’s why it is the responsibility of the drivers to become familiar with local laws regarding proper driving procedures in school zones, residential neighborhoods, and areas where children are likely to be present. Drivers do have an obligation to be cautious, observant motorists around pedestrians, which overrides any right-of-way situations on the road. Ultimately, respecting standard driving procedures and exercising extreme care will prioritize a common goal: keeping school children safe.

Contact Us

The attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe are available to help if your child is injured due to an accident while traveling to or from school. If you find yourself in a situation where injuries have been caused by the negligence of another, we encourage you to call our office today. We will listen to you and then give you the facts and options you need to move on with your life. Do not wait, but call us today so we can give you the professional advice you need during this time.

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